Changed Lives

Christina’s Story
After the Fire

It was a mother’s worst nightmare. Christina, a single mom, and her 11-year-old son had just pulled up in front of their home, only to find it ablaze. Were her other kids stuck inside?

She tried to open the front door, but was pushed back by the blast. She lay down on the porch and started screaming their names, fearing the worst.

Fortunately, they showed up a few minutes later, just as the fire department arrived. The whole family watched helplessly as their house burned down. They were grateful to be alive, but they lost everything in the fire … including their three English bulldogs.

Suddenly homeless, Christina’s family was invited to move into the Crossroads transitional housing apartments.

“It was overwhelming to show up there with nothing to our names,” Christina says. “But the staff was wonderful, and it was great for us to be together.”

The family stayed with Crossroads for six weeks before moving into their own place.

“I don’t know what we would’ve done without Crossroads,” Christina says. “It was nice to have a place where we could be safe and have such a good support system.”

Your generous gift makes you part of that support system for families in need!

Scott’s Story
He just needed a Safe Place

Scott’s 65 years haven’t been easy. His struggles with mental illness and chronic homelessness have taken their toll.

“My bones are aching,” he says. “I’ve had a very rugged life.”

Fortunately, he found his way to Crossroads where, for almost two years now, he’s been able to give those bones — and his heart and soul — a rest.

“I came here for security,” says Scott. “Sleeping outside is rough, and it can get dangerous.”

Jake, one of our program directors, says it’s a blessing to serve Scott … and that the Crossroads team is blessed in return.

“We’re just the Good Samaritan in his life,” Jake says. “Scott was alone and it seemed like nobody was helping him. So we’re taking care of him and making sure he’s safe and secure, meeting his essential needs.

“He’s comfortable here, and he’s just a nice guy. He’s just part of our family.”

Your heartfelt support makes you part of an “extended family” to neighbors in need!

Sonny’s Story
“I don’t know where I would be today without the help of Crossroads Mission Avenue. All the help they gave me, everything they taught me, it allowed me a fresh start in life.”

Sonny had a dark past. The downhill spiral started when he was 12. He began walking away from being a “pretty good boy,” drinking and smoking cigarettes. Freshman year of high school brought many changes to Sonny’s life; his family moved, his brother graduated and moved away, and Sonny felt alone. His new friends were involved with drugs, and by Sonny’s junior year in high school he was a heavy user himself. Then Sonny was taught to use a needle, and for the next 7 years his life revolved around sticking a needle in his arm. Drugs became the only thing he wanted. He could no longer keep a job, was sleeping in his car, closets and grain bins, and started stealing. He was repeatedly arrested and eventually ended up in prison for 2 1/2 years.

Sonny started hearing about God’s love from a jailer, and he spent his time in jail and prison learning all he could about God. That jailer heard a radio ad about Crossroads Mission Avenue, and encouraged him to call when the time came for him to leave. After 2 1/2 years in prison, Sonny came to Crossroads Mission Avenue.

Sonny felt loved and cared for at Crossroads Mission Avenue. “We started every day with devotions, and it was so encouraging and uplifting to start every day that way – in praise to God. Through classes we learned how to take care of ourselves, eat well, live on a budget, interview for jobs, save money, and slowly ease back into the community – how to restart life. I needed that help. It prepared me for a better life.”

Since leaving Crossroads Mission Avenue he attended college and obtained his ASE-certification to be an auto technician, married the woman of his dreams and purchased a home. Sonny is now a youth pastor, an auto mechanic, husband to his wife Kristen and father to their son Josiah and daughter Taylor.

“I don’t know where I would be today without the help of Crossroads Mission Avenue. All the help they gave me, everything they taught me, it allowed me a fresh start in life.”

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Paul’s Story
First there was a family intervention. Then a divine intervention.

When God Put His Foot Down

Thank God — literally — for a broken foot. Because if it weren’t for that broken foot, Paul would’ve walked away from Crossroads — and likely his only chance to live — at his first opportunity.

Paul started drinking at age 16 and pretty much never quit for the next 32 years. His alcoholism destroyed his marriage and his family. Still, they loved him enough to try to get him the help he needed.

The family intervention ended when they brought Paul to Crossroads one night. Paul was so drunk at the time that he doesn’t even remember it. And while intoxicated, he had broken his foot so badly that he couldn’t put any weight on it.

Crossroads doesn’t admit clients while they are under the influence, so they took him to the hospital to detox and to get his foot fixed. After detoxing and reconstructive surgery, the hospital brought Paul back to Crossroads about a week later. He hated it.

“I was very reluctant,” he says. “If I would’ve been able to walk out, I would have.” But God had put His foot down, and as a result, Paul couldn’t. He’d already had the family intervention. And now, looking back, Paul believes his broken foot was a form of divine intervention.

“I had stopped caring anymore about anything,” Paul says. “I wasn’t suicidal, but I didn’t care if I woke up in the morning, either. I didn’t realize how deep into drinking I was until I got to Crossroads. I don’t know how I functioned. It’s a mystery. But what I do know is that, by the grace of God, I landed here.”

For so long, Paul only knew a life of drinking. He’d forgotten what sobriety could look and feel like. And he likes it. “Drinking just seemed so normal to me,” he says. “But it doesn’t even sound fun right now. That’s a miracle in and of itself. Not long ago, I couldn’t have fathomed the thought of getting up for my morning shower without first taking a big swig.”

When he’s done with the program at Crossroads, Paul wants to live independently, though he’s not sure what he’d like to pursue. But he is convinced God has something in mind. In the meantime, he’ll just walk by faith … now that he can walk again.

Kairy’s Story
“Now I’m Found”

Kairy comes from a loving Christian home, and he’s not sure what led him down the path of alcohol addiction. Maybe it was the racism he experienced growing up in Georgia. Maybe it was the stresses of life when he moved out.

Whatever triggered it, Kairy dove into the deep end, battling the bottle and bouts of homelessness. He got in trouble with the law and did some time in jail.

When on probation, the court ordered him to move to a transitional living facility. Kairy chose Crossroads. It might’ve been the best decision of his life.

Kairy got sober, got counseling, got a good job, got all the help he needed.

“They’re good people,” Kairy says of the Crossroads staff. “They stand on good things. They helped me with my mental state, with coming back into society.”

Writing poetry has also helped. Kairy, who goes by the pseudonym Kûpid for his rap-like rhymes, saying his writing keeps him calm and focused. Here’s just a snippet of his work:

I once was lost but now I’m found
But what I lost is nowhere around
My heartbeat I heard, but is it how I sound?
Eyes start to drown as they gaze upon love’s crown …
What I’m trying to say is every blessing is a count

Kairy’s certainly counting his blessings … starting with supporters like you.

“I can only imagine where I would be without Crossroads,” he says. “This is a good place. They always give you a helping hand.”

When you give someone a helping hand, it’s an extension of your compassion. Thank you!

Chance’s Story
Second Chance

Chance didn’t have much of a chance, considering his background. He was estranged from his biological family. His adoptive family abused him, locking him in his room for a week at a time with no food or water. He ended up selling drugs to try to make ends meet.

Chance joined the Marines in an attempt to find a fresh start, but was medically discharged due to a bad heart. He tried another fresh start: He got a job and got engaged … only to have his fiancée steal all his money and run away.

“I got left in the cold,” Chance says. “I hit rock bottom.” That’s when his drinking and drug use worsened.

Chance felt suicidal. He drove around, aimlessly. He happened to be driving through Nebraska when he ran out of gas — right down the street from Crossroads. He spent the night there … and ended up staying for six months.

Chance finally got sober, got a job and got out on his own again — making the most of his second chance.

Your heartfelt generosity is giving struggling neighbors a second chance!

A previous guest shares her gratitude…
My mother, siblings and I were homeless with no place to go and no one to take us in!

From 2018 – Crossroads Mission Avenue was blessed by a special gift last night when a previous guest donated this cookie.  With permission, we share her story …… “I hope everyone enjoyed the Eileen’s cookie!!! I wanted to share why I wanted to give this cookie to Crossroads but I was so choked up when bringing it in! When I was younger (year 2000) my mother, siblings and I were homeless with no place to go and no one to take us in! Crossroads opened their arms and hearts to us and gave us a pillow to lay on and food to eat so we wouldn’t starve! It became a home to us and others and staff became family! Crossroads saved me and my family in our desperate time of need!! My mother passed away the next year (2001). Us children (at the time were ages 10 (me) 13 (brother) and 16 (sister) moved into our grandparents home! I know the cookie wasn’t much but it meant so much to me to give it to all of you!! My mother would have done the same exact thing! Hope you all enjoyed! God bless ❤️”

Maria’s Story
“Every day I am getting closer to the goals I have made.”

From 2014, here’s Maria’s story in her words:  Hello, my name is Maria. I want to let you know how Crossroads Mission has helped me find myself by opening their door to me at my time of need. Earlier this year I was not the person I am today. My life revolved around drugs. My daughter was removed from my home. I gave up on life since she was removed and turned to drugs to cope with life. In April, I lost my home because of drugs. I also lost my job earlier in the year because of drugs. Doing drugs made me forget my pain in my past and current living situations. I thought as long as I had drugs to turn to, then I could live. After moving from one place to another, I got tired of wondering where I was going to sleep that night. On July 18, 2014, Crossroads Mission opened their door to me. Now I can tell people I have a place to stay without worrying if I will be kicked out for no reason. Since I have been at Crossroads, I have been able to successfully complete classes for probation and my aftercare program. Crossroads has a program for all of us guests to complete. We can complete this program on our time so we don’t feel overwhelmed with other things we are working on to better ourselves. The program is called the “Personal Resilience Program (PRP).” The program talks about the following topics: 1. Enemies of Resilience 2. Beliefs Matter 3. Managing Your Life 4. Financial Resilience 5. Resolving Everyday Conflict. When I first got here, I told myself that I didn’t have time for these classes and was making up excuses to not attend them. Finally I told myself I needed to grow up and start to make a difference in my life. Now that I have completed the PRP classes, I am glad that I took the time to attend each session. The classes helped me to remember my morals and values in life. It gave me other tools I can use if other ways are not working out the way I think it should be doing. After three months staying at Crossroads Mission, I feel 100% than in April. Every day I am getting closer to the goals I have made. My days are not as stressful. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that can be hectic, but I know I will overcome the obstacles that am facing that day.

Cole’s Story
“I’m a Completely Different Person”

For Cole, the choice was a no-brainer.

He could go back to jail and lose his job. Or he could go to Crossroads Mission Avenue and keep working. He didn’t have to think about it: Crossroads, of course.

Cole was fortunate to even be given a choice. He’d been in trouble with the law before, and spent two years in jail on multiple charges. When he was released in April 2020, he was on probation and warned to stay out of trouble. But a few months later, he was busted for driving while intoxicated. That’s when his probation officer gave him the choice.

On being given a second chance, Cole says, “I was really thankful.” Crossroads is all about second chances. We’re a place of grace. “They’re not judgmental,” says Cole, 27. “They don’t look down on you.”

Cole, a longtime alcoholic, hasn’t had a drink since that DUI. He credits Crossroads, and God, with his transformation. “I’m a completely different person,” he says. “I love being sober, and I have no desire to use again. I don’t need alcohol or drugs to set off good feelings in my brain. I’m really high on life right now.”

Cole, who is Native American, adhered to his culture’s spiritual beliefs for most of his life. But at Crossroads, he discovered Christianity, and has fully embraced it. “I’ve had a spiritual awakening,” he says. “Now I believe in the Holy Trinity — God, Son and Holy Spirit.” He’s motivated to stay sober. He has a good job in the manufacturing business, and he’s looking forward to getting his own place again.

“I’m just going to keep working hard,” he says. “Thanks to Crossroads, I’ve got a new view of life.”

Thank you for all you do to help people turn their lives around.

Serina’s Story
“They’re Wonderful!”

Serina couldn’t keep a job to save her life.

She would lose control at work — an outburst, a scream or physically lashing out — and get fired. She’d find another job, and the same thing would happen again. And again. “I was let go a lot,” she says.

Serina ended up homeless, wandering the streets. Her erratic behavior continued; she couldn’t keep it under control. She asked for help at Crossroads, where they took her to a doctor. And at 41 years old, Serina finally got an answer. She had Tourette syndrome. “I didn’t know I had it,” she says.

Crossroads worked with doctors to get Serina on the medication that would keep her condition under control, enabling her to live a more “normal” life.

“If it weren’t for Crossroads, I’d still be out on the street,” she says. “Those people are wonderful!”

For Serina and many others, you help neighbors in their time of need.